Last Word

9/11 survivors’ exposure to toxic dust and the chronic health conditions that followed offer lessons that are still too often unheeded

Toxic dust hung in the air around ground zero for more than three months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Anthony Correia/Getty Images ~~~~~~ The 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York resulted in the loss of 2,753 people in the Twin Towers and surrounding area. After the attack, more than 100,000 responders and recovery workers from every U.S. state – along with some...

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Tackling the growing problem of overmedication

Polypharmacy — taking five or more meds at a time — leads to side effects, unnecessary hospitalizations and premature deaths. Researchers and pharmacists are seeking solutions to this serious public health problem that disproportionately affects older adults. When my grandmother Carol Mitchell was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2010 at the age of 72, she was prescribed a drug called...

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Doctors’ Dilemma: Replacing Colorblindness to Favor Minority Care

Doctors are questioning the concept of colorblindness in patient care as a racist holdover that benefits white people. And some openly acknowledge that prioritizing non-whites for medical care to compensate for historical wrongs may result in a greater loss of life. But increasingly they say that society must take this route as a matter of medical ethics. The colorblind standard, which says that...

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Foods of abuse? Nutritionists consider food addiction

From the earliest days of their evolution, guts and brains have been the best of friends. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Guts prepare nourishment for delivery to the brain. And brains guide the behaviors needed to fill the gut with raw materials. Even today, the primitive need to serve the gut’s hunger remains implanted in the human brain’s blueprint for directing behavior. But...

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Despite What Biden Says, Guns Factor in Only a Small Percentage of Violent Crimes

In response to sharp increases in violent crime, President Biden stressed again last week that his administration is focused on “stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes.” But critics warn that this “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact – about 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms. Although firearms were used in about 74% of homicides in 2019, they...

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What Sweden’s Covid failure tells us about ageism

Experts say that growing age discrimination in the West is a result of policies that far predate the pandemic After the pandemic’s deadly first peak in April 2020, it became clear that Sweden’s quest to protect its elderly had failed. My home country had become the last outpost for a “herd immunity” approach, with the government ignoring international calls for quarantine. Sweden’s strategy had...

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